Newcastle couple makes sure intoxicated drivers get home for 2022

Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 7:30 PM CST
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NEWCASTLE, Texas (KAUZ) - A couple in Newcastle has made it their New Year’s resolution to make sure those celebrating this weekend made it back home to their families by offering free rides home throughout Young County.

“So many people think well I’ve only had one beer, I’ve only had two beers, I’ve only had one drink I’m safe to drive home. If I can walk, climb and count, backward I’m safe to drive but in reality, they’re probably not,” said Brad Owen, a resident of Newcastle, Texas.

Owen and his fiancé Kristy Ponder have been offering free rides on and off for the past five years to those that may have had one too many drinks while ringing in the new year.

“I had a friend and he was killed on New Year’s Eve right outside Olney, and he had been drinking and driving,” Owen said. “People that lived in Olney told him they would drive him home, but he wanted to drive. He made it three miles from his house, got around a curve, and I don’t know exactly what happened but he lost control and killed himself.”

In October Owen was involved in an incident that almost took his life. The experience made him realize how important his rides were and most importantly that he needed to take his own advice.

“It was 5:30 and I was in Archer City Texas near a gas station. The pumps run north and south and I was pointed east and west. The car door was open, interior lights were on and there was vomit all over everything. I don’t remember how I got there or how long I had been there,” said Owen. “I think that pretty much broke me from drinking. Here I am offering rides and trying to save lives but just a few months back I could have taken my own life or the life of somebody else.”

While Ponder doesn’t drive herself, she does help those looking for rides get in touch with Owen. She said she couldn’t be more honored to be a part of something that hits close to home and is so special.

“There are no words to explain it, he’s amazing at what he does. My cousin Lawanda was involved in a wreck a few years back and her husband at the time decided he would get behind the wheel. The truck ended up turning over and she got the worse end of the deal. She’s got a scar from her neck to the front of her face,” said Ponder.

Brad has picked up at least 25 people in the past five years during New Year’s Eve And New Year’s Day. On Friday night there were no calls for rides, but he will be available on New Year’s Day to answer the call of someone needing help on the other line.

Owen said he has decided to be a designated driver year-round, and if you need him just give him a call at (940)-873-3227.

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